$6.5M Cleanup of Contaminated Sites in New Jersey


The Biden administration recently announced through the EPA that it will award $254.5 million in Brownfields Grants to 265 communities nationwide, including four grants totaling $6.5 million across New Jersey.

A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is restricted by the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

Brownfield projects can range from cleaning buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, to assessing and cleaning abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals.

Former Brownfield properties, cleared of potential health hazards, have been redeveloped into grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks, and solar farms.

The Brownfields Program attempts to advance the President's Justice40 Initiative, which aims to "deliver at least 40% of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities."

Approximately 86% of the communities selected to receive funding from the Brownfields Program have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.

“EPA’s Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors.” – EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Applicants selected for funding in New Jersey include:

  • City of Asbury Park, Cleanup Grant of $500,000
  • Camden Redevelopment Agency, Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental Grant of $3,500,000
  • Hamilton Township, Cleanup Grant of $500,000
  • New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Assessment Grant of $2,000,000 for projects statewide

The announced funding doesn’t only impact NJ.

Funding will also be allocated for the cleaning of a former coal mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania, that will become a 10-megawatt solar farm, and a former dumpsite in the Fort Belknap Native American Community in Montana that will be converted to a solar farm.

According to the EPA, these projects aim to save residents an estimated $2.8 million in energy costs over 25 years.

Funds supporting the decontamination of hazardous sites nationwide:

  • $112.8 million for 183 selectees for Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
  • $18.2 million for 36 selectees for Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.
  • $16.3 million for 17 selectees for Revolving Loan Fund grants that will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.
  • $107 million for 39 high-performing Revolving Loan Fund Grant recipients to help communities continue their work to carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects on contaminated brownfield properties.

The national list of applicants selected for funding is available here.

According to the Office of the Governor of New Jersey

Since its inception in 1995, the EPA has invested over $35 billion in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites.

  • To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
  • Grant recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
  • An academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% because of cleanup activities.
  • Analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.

Morristown Minute recently reported on a large number of contaminated sites in New Jersey, particularly concerning was the level of contamination in our state’s schools.

What sites in our local community need to be cleaned and redeveloped?

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